Adriaen van der Spelt and Frans van Mieris, Flower Piece with Curtain, 1658
From Art History, Volume II by M. Stokstad:
The Greek’s realism is illustrated in a story from the fifth century about a rivalry between two painters: Zeuxis and Parrhasios as to whom was the better painter. Zeuxis painted grapes so accurately that birds flew down to peck them. When Parrhasios took his turn, Zeuxis asked him to remove the curtain hanging over his picture. Parrhasios pointed out that the curtain was his painting. Zeuxis admitted that Parrhasios had won since he only fooled the birds but Parrhasios deceived a human. In the seventeenth century, van der Spelt and van Mieris pay homage to the story with a blue satin drape and garland of flowers. Included, in this work, is another story to Pausias and Glykera. Pausias, enamored with flower seller, Glykera, learned to paint by painting flowers. Patrons of the seventeenth century appreciated these classical allusions.